Gibson’s J-45 acoustic was originally launched in August 1942 and has become known as something of a workhorse among players ever since, revered for its warmth, projection and balanced tone.
A round-shouldered dreadnought, the traditional spec of the J-45 comprised a spruce top with mahogany back and sides, although some early wartime variants included a mahogany top with maple back and sides.
A mahogany neck with a rosewood fingerboard and a distinctive teardrop pickguard complete the livery of this 16-inchwide, short-scale guitar, which has become Gibson’s top-selling acoustic over the years.
Since its introduction, there have been minor tweaks, but these have been principally cosmetic - changes to the binding, bridge, pickguard shape and finish options, and so on.
There has been a whole host of special models, too: the 80s saw the J-45 Celebrity with rosewood back and sides, an ebony fingerboard and a longer scale length in a limited run of 90, for instance.
Since then, we’ve seen the Montana Special, the Rosewood Custom and the Buddy Holly - based on the original wartime J-45, and limited to a run of 1,000 models between 1995 and 1998.
The model pictured here is from 1964, just two years after Gibson made Cherry Sunburst available as a finish on the J-45. Close inspection reveals some fretboard wear down near the nut, inviting the speculation that this instrument might have seen quite a lot of singer-songwriter action.
The finish may have crazed, and there’s a crack in the pickguard, but it looks perfectly fit and ready for action to us!
There's a mahogany neck with a rosewood fingerboard.
This example has a spruce top with mahogany back and sides.
The nut-end of the neck on this example is well-worn.
This is a relatively early example of a J-45 Cherry Sunburst finish.